Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Orchid Horticulture in the Philippines

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in the Philippines was that many people grew orchids, and the more I looked, the more I saw - approximately 1 in every 5 homes had orchids in their yard! It was happening everywhere, from cities to small isolated fishing villages! I saw mainly Vandas, Dendrobiums, Onicidiums, Phalaenopsis and Brassias, grown outdoors on dead stumps and tree trunks and some even had shaded areas fashioned from screens and bamboo. I was quite surprised at the abundance of personal orchid horticulture I saw, it can be such a pricey hobby that I assumed gardeners in less developed countries to grow more economical plants. I did know that many orchids grow naturally on the Philippine Islands and I'll admit that the thought of orchid poaching went through my mind. However, on a visit to my first commercial grower I quickly dismissed the thought that the whole country was taking orchids from the wild. I learned that most of the orchids that I saw in gardens are popular hybrids and they are very cheap. For instance I was quoted a price of $30 CAN for a 5' tree trunk with a cement base and 4-6 blooming Vandas, and that's the "tourist price". My dream - to live in a place where you can grow orchids outdoors and for a fraction of the price it would cost you in Canada.

Friday, February 10, 2006

New at Canada Post

I received a letter in the mail the other day and noticed something very interesting about the $1.05 stamp - it pictures Calypso bulbosa, Canada's Fairy Slipper orchid! I immediately went to the post office to buy one and found that the 89 cent stamp was also an orchid - Cypripedium parviflorum (var. pubescens) Canada's Large Yellow Lady Slipper. You know your an orchid enthisiast (or should I say freak?) when discovering one on the right hand corner of a envelope gives you a similar feeling to finding one in the wild.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Arriving home to good news and bad news

I arrived home after a month in the Philippines to both orchid proliferation and devistation. It seems that the one thing I failed to tell my orchid-sitter is that the main cause of orchid death is overwatering! I found six of my orchids in a sorry state and the worst was discovering two immersed in standing water! I immediately aerated and repotted the plants and all I can do is hope that they survive (especially the paphiopedilums!). I can't help but ask myself the question - Am I a bad mother?

On a more positive note I also arrived home to good news. Advanced growth on Neofinetia, do you remember the photo I posted of this plant a month ago? Slowly but surely the new growth is developing, but I am still unsure as to if it is a inflorescence or a plantlet.

Psycopsis papilio is as happy as ever with yet another bloom waiting to open and growth that has developed into two new pseudobulbs. It is such a rewarding plant!

A big and beautiful Cymbidium bloom was also waiting for me when I got home and it looks as though it may last at least another month.

And the most exciting....not one but TWO flower spikes emerging from Colmanara Wildcat "Gold Ring"!